In a season that showed the Anaheim Ducks that they can no longer rest on their laurels, their two first-round picks in the 2019 draft are pivotal, could a Finnish D-Man help re-stock the prospect cupboard?
The Anaheim Ducks hold two picks in the first round of the upcoming 2019 NHL Entry Draft. We’ve talked about quite a few potential picks with the latter of the Ducks first round picks, let us keep that trend going.
We’ve discussed one offensive minded defender from Finland in Lassi Thomson, but with the uncertainty of the last 2/3rds of the first round every year, it’s looking at every possibility, because someone could fall to you that you’re not expecting or someone you’re expecting to be there could be taken earlier than you thought. So, let’s take a look at another defenseman from Finland, and one who potentially has a bigger potential to boom or bust than Thomson.
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Anttoni Honka- Defenseman from Jyväskylä, Finland- Current Team: KeuPa HT Mestis
Anttoni Honka is the younger brother of Julius Honka, 1st round selection (14th overall) in 2014 of the Dallas Stars, the same draft the Ducks took Nick Ritchie 10th overall. His older brother has seemingly fallen a bit out of favor in Dallas as John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen have shone while Honka has yet to separate himself from the pack.
Anttoni will look to not fall into the same quandary. A smooth skating offensive defenseman, standing 5’10 and roughly 170lbs, he’s certainly closer to undersized than fully developed. The biggest worry with Honka is his size, he doesn’t play physically but doesn’t cower when confronted with covering a player much bigger than him.
Honka shines when it comes to offensive play, great puck handling ability, a solid shot, and despite not being a huge player, plays positionally in the defensive end quite well (something that was a concern for his brother coming out of the draft.)
Although, due to his offensive nature, he does make some bone-headed plays that lead to turnovers a la Sami Vatanen or Brandon Montour. He doesn’t possess a blistering shot, but it’s accurate and enough to make the goalie question whether he is actually going to shoot or look to use the shot to set up another player. Honka’s passing ability is better than his shooting ability, and he could be a great addition to a team’s powerplay once he bulks up a bit. He’s likely one of the more offensively gifted defensemen in this draft, but his size and the fact his brother hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire might sour some scouts on him a little bit.
Comparison: Sami Vatanen
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